Sheriff details what happened when deputies responded to Tammy Daybell’s death as Lori Daybell’s son makes a passionate plea
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FREMONT COUNTY — Lori Vallow Daybell’s son is making a plea to his mother and telling her to reveal information about his missing sister, Tylee Ryan, and brother, Joshua “JJ” Vallow.
“I can’t tell you how hurt and frustrated and confused I am about what’s going on,” Colby Ryan said in a video posted on his YouTube channel. “You have the power to end this. You have an opportunity to put this all to rest.”
Ryan’s plea comes days after investigators searched Chad Daybell’s Salem home and retrieved 43 items, including computers, electronic devices, journals, cell phones and other things.
“There were samples of various things that were taken that will be sent off to labs for further analysis,” Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries said when asked by EastIdahoNews.com if items such as hair or personal forensic evidence was seized. “We’re trying to clarify things and figure out what it was that might have happened there.”
Investigators say they’re no closer to knowing the location of 17-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old JJ. The kids have been missing since September and Lori and Chad are not talking.
“There is a lot of concern for the safety of the kids,” Humphries said. “The information that is coming out of Arizona in reference to deaths of multiple people is concerning.”
One of the deaths Humphries is referring to is that of Lori’s former husband, Charles Vallow. He was shot and killed in July while picking up JJ from Lori in Chandler, Arizona. Police said he was shot in self-defense and the man who pulled the trigger was Lori’s brother, Alex Cox. Cox died Dec. 12 and the cause of his death has not been released.
Tylee’s dad, Joseph Ryan, passed away of an apparent heart attack in 2018. He had been divorced from Lori for some time.
Then there’s Chad’s former wife, Tammy Daybell, who died at her home in Salem Oct. 19.
“My deputies responded and, as we do with most unattended deaths, they took pictures, they looked it over and contacted our detectives,” Humphries says.” The detectives had a few questions, they satisfied those, got the information they needed and didn’t see anything that alarmed them.”
EastIdahoNews.com asked Humphries if Chad Daybell was acting unusual or suspicious when deputies were at the home.
“To my knowledge, he was responding like anybody would whose spouse had just passed away. That’s why the deputies didn’t suspect anything suspicious,” Humphries said.
A few days later, Humphries said his office was alerted by detectives in Arizona about the other deaths. Tammy’s body was exhumed from the Springville Evergreen Cemetary and an autopsy was performed. Investigators are waiting for autopsy lab results, which could take a few more weeks.
One question that has been raised is whether Tammy Daybell had a large life insurance policy. Humphries said he could not comment on that issue but confirmed it is being investigated.
“There is some information along those lines that I’m not at liberty to speak about right now,” he said.
Ten days before Tammy died, she reported pulling in her driveway when a masked man came up and started firing an empty paintball gun at her. In a Facebook post, she said she asked the man what he was doing and he didn’t respond. She yelled for Chad to help her and the man took off.
Humphries confirms the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office sent a deputy to the Daybell home that evening.
“There wasn’t anything there at the time we could do and everybody kind of summed it up as a prank,” Humphries said, acknowledging now that the situation was “a red flag.”
When asked if he thinks the incident is tied to Tammy’s death, he responded by saying, “We would like to know.”
Tammy Daybell’s death has been ruled suspicious and Chad Daybell has not spoken to investigators about his wife’s death, according to Humphries.
“We have been contacted by his attorney a couple of weeks ago,” Humphries said. “His attorney was letting us know that any communications would be through him and that there wasn’t any at the time. That has not changed.”
Sean Bartholick, the Daybell’s attorney, declined our request for an on-camera interview but in a previous statement said Chad Daybell was a loving husband and Lori Daybell is a devoted mother.
He added, “We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”
Officials are pretty sure Chad and Lori are not in Idaho and neighbors tell EastIdahoNews.com nobody has entered Lori’s Rexburg townhouse for weeks. Toys belonging to JJ sit on the front porch covered in snow.
Investigators say they will continue to process search warrants and additional subpoenas. They remain hopeful Tylee and JJ will be found.
“Certainly we’re all concerned for their safety,” Humphries said. “If they would let us know where they’re at, let somebody know where they’re at, I don’t think it would be very difficult to prove their safety if they’re ok.”
WATCH OUR ENTIRE INTERVIEW WITH SHERIFF LEN HUMPHRIES